Way back in November 2006, the PS3 was launched and since then, the powerful console has come to sell 80 million units as of November 2013. Now I’m not entirely sure why that number hasn’t been updated since then but perhaps not so coincidentally, that’s also when PS4 launched and with it, took all the wind out of its predecessor’s sails.
Now nearly four years later, it looks like Sony is finally putting the PS3 to rest by bringing production of the 500GB model, which was still being made in Japan, to an end. I’m personally surprised it took so long for Sony to bring production to a halt, seeing how they stopped supporting the console right when PS4 arrived.
Sure there have been minor updates, but there haven’t been any major firmware updates, nor any first party studios producing content for it. The same can be said for many 3rd party companies that quickly switched over to PS4, due to its momentum that’s still chugging today, helping Sony capture 57% of the console marketshare.
Now some might recall that PS2 lived well into PS3’s lifespan and that’s for a few reasons, with the most notable being its install base. Though 80+ million is no number to scoff at, it’s also not PS2 numbers and that’s because that console was able to eventually hit the $99 price point. Even today, the PS3 costs around $200, ensuring that it never became the hyper-cheap console that PS2 was which allowed Sony to sell droves of them even in developing nations. The PS3’s $599 price point also didn’t help which meant adoption of the console was also slower.
If I had to take a guess, I’d say that Sony still had a number of Cell processors laying around which they co-developed with Toshiba. Seeing how outdated the processors are by today’s standards and how proprietary they are, Sony couldn’t really incorporate them in any other product and it was either keep producing PS3’s which are still selling in small quantities or write off the cost of the leftover processors entirely.
Despite the flak it received, I still think PS3 was one of the greatest gaming consoles and most ambitious electronics Sony ever produced. If nothing else, PS3 was a very humbling experience for Sony and the lessons learned from it are why PS4 continues to be a runaway success.